Theme Park Apprentice 7: Challenge 4

Edited: July 31, 2015, 11:09 PM

As a reminder, Challenge 3 is still going on and is due Saturday, August 1st at midnight. Please do not forget to submit an entry for that challenge.

Note: Before asking questions, please see my post below the challenge posting to make sure your question has not already been answered.

Challenge 4: The Ultimate Thrill Ride

The Challenge

Six Flags is a well known regional theme park chain in North America. While they do attract a range of demographics, their core focus is thrill rides. The company is known for building some of the tallest, fastest, and most extreme roller coasters ever created.Your job is to create the next extreme roller coaster for the Six Flags park of your choice. However, your design must meet all of the following criteria:

-You may use any coaster type, but you may not use one that already exists in your chosen Six Flags park.
-You must break at least one world record OR have a first of its kind in North America feature.
-You must keep to a budget of $15 million dollars. For reference, most recent Six Flags coasters are within this budget, but most of Cedar Fair’s recent coasters exceed this amount.
-You must theme your attraction to Six Flags standards (static scenery). You may use either a generic theme, a theme relating to the location of the ride, or a theme based on one of the company’s current IPs.
-You must design a serious thrill ride. Family coasters will not be accepted for this challenge.

The Proposal

Your proposal for this challenge should be 3-5 pages (not including pictures) and should include:

-The name, type, and theme of your attraction
-The location of your attraction, both the park and themed area
-A description of the queue and station area for your attraction
-A list of statistics (Minimum Requirements: manufacturer, type, length, max height, inversion count (if applicable), approximate max speed, approximate ride duration, and train information)
-A complete layout description, including mention of all significant elements
-A list or records and/or firsts on your ride
-Anything else you feel will benefit your proposal

The Advice

-For recent major coaster projects, Six Flags has been going primarily with Premier and Rocky Mountain Construction. You may choose one of these manufacturers if desired. Other current manufacturers of major coasters include Bolliger & Mabillard, Gravitykraft, Gerstlauer, Great Coasters International, Intamin, Mack Rides, and Maurer AG.
-Your record or unique feature can be as noteworthy or as obscure as desired, but it must be legitimate. If you need ideas, watch some Six Flags promo videos to see the types of claims Six Flags makes. False or inaccurate claims may cost you points.
-While we will not penalize you for slightly incorrect statistics, your roller coaster must be realistic and all statistics should be in the correct ballpark. To stay within the budget of this challenge, general guidelines are:

-Length: No more than 3,500 ft.
-Height: No taller than 150 ft.
-Speed: No more than 70 MPH. For a rough estimate on what this should be, use half your height. For a more accurate estimate, use the following formula: sqrt(64.4*height in feet)*0.682.
-Inversions: If you choose to include inversions, do not include more than 5.
-Duration: No more than 3 minutes. A reasonable estimate for duration (in seconds) is to divide the length (in feet) by the max speed (in MPH) and use 2-3 times this value.

-If the judges feel your coaster exceeds the budget requirement, you may be asked to show evidence. Please consider inflation when looking at the price tag of coasters over 5 years old (ex: a $15 million coaster built in 2000 would be around $20 million now). For currency conversion, use For inflation, try
-Some examples of recent roller coaster installations which satisfy the technical criteria of this challenge are:

-Alpina Blitz at Nigloland
-Cu Chulainn at Tayto Park
-Flug der Damonen at Heide Park Resort
-Full Throttle at Six Flags Magic Mountain
-Karacho at Erlebnispark Tripsdrill
-Krake at Heide Park Soltau
-Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City
-Superman Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
-Wodan Timbur Coaster at Europa Park
-X-Flight at Six Flags Great America

-Some examples of recent roller coasters which do not meet the challenge criteria are:

-Banshee at Kings Island
-Baron 1898 at Efteling
-Cannibal at Lagoon
-Fury 325 at Caronwinds
-GateKeeper at Cedar Point
-Helix at Liseberg
-Leviathan at Canada’s Wonderland
-Smiler at Alton Towers

-For researching different roller coaster types and records, a good resource is the Roller Coaster DataBase (

The Deadline

All proposals must be submitted by midnight on Saturday, August 8th.

Replies (18)

Edited: August 1, 2015, 12:06 AM

Since I know this challenge is likely to provoke responses, allow me to address some anticipated comments. First off, of the challenges presented so far this one has undergone the most revision. It is the most constraining challenge in the competition and likely the most difficult one yet. However, it is definitely not impossible and there is plenty of room to get creative.

Secondly, despite all the information above there are only five rules:

1. You may use any type of coaster that does not exist in your chosen Six Flags park
2. Your coaster must contain something unique to North America OR break some type of record
3. You must remain within a budget of $15 million
4. You must theme your coaster
5. You must design a thrill coaster, not a family coaster

Points 1 and 5 are fairly self explanatory, but I will cover the others. For the unique feature criteria, this can be something as simple as copying a ride type or element that exists outside of North America or adding a superlative to a common element. You may also do an element that has been done, just not with your specific coaster type. While ride superlatives are acceptable as well, as long as you have something a little different we won't complain. For the budget requirement, as long as you stick to the listed criteria you will be considered to meet the budget. If you wish to go significantly outside of these, just include an example proving it is possible without exceeding the budget. You're welcome to do a mile-long hypercoaster, but you need to prove a mile-long hypercoaster can be done for $15 million. For theming, Six Flags is not Disney and we don't expect enclosed dark ride/coaster hybrids, mountains, or animatronics. However, there must be some type of theme for your attraction. It can be relatively simple, but it needs to be there.

Third, we do not expect everyone to become engineers overnight in order to complete this challenge. We are not looking for exact statistics from your roller coaster and we will not penalize you if you say your coaster goes 1 MPH faster than the laws of physics would allow. However, we do expect you to be reasonable. Don't try to tell us that a 100 ft. drop will accelerate your coaster to 90 MPH, and don't try to tell us that said coaster is 2,000 ft. long with a 5 minute ride duration. If you are in doubt, pick a length and a height then find a coaster with similar statistics and use that ride's speed and duration figures. You are welcome to use the equations and approximations listed above, but you may also pick something that seems appropriate. If in doubt, do a little research.

Lastly, a word about Rocky Mountain Construction. Lately, Six Flags has been creating new coasters by converting existing wood coasters into steel coasters made by this company. While these are technically new roller coasters, we feel that they are more of an extreme refurbishment than a brand new attraction since many ties to the original ride remain. Therefore, a Rocky Mountain Conversion is not an acceptable choice for this challenge. You are welcome to create a new Rocky Mountain coaster, but it must be brand new and not built off of an existing ride.

If you have any questions about the challenge, ask them and we will answer. If you want to check whether something sounds reasonable (is x too fast for a coaster y tall?, etc.), we can give you a response. While we cannot tell you what to do, we can advise you on whether or not something would be considered acceptable within the rules of the challenge.

August 1, 2015, 4:02 PM

If you're like me, when you saw this challenge you thought "What the? How am I going to do anything for that?"

I think this is perhaps the most groundbreaking challenge of the year (and there are twists to come). Yes, in some ways giving you a budget does limit the creativity... but I think this challenge is great as it helps TPA get slightly real. Every challenge that I can remember in every season (and I did go back and read em all a couple of years ago) has basically been built on the assumption that you have unlimited funds and resources to make it work. As anyone who has ever had to budget before knows, life isn't like that at all. In reality there are always budgets.

Limitations in a challenge can force you to be a bit more creative. Yes, you can't make your Colossus-meets-smiler 24 loop thriller, you're going to have to come up with some other creative solution to deal with the limitations.

I can't wait to see what you all come up with.

August 2, 2015, 9:30 AM

I'm sorry to do this on such a great challenge, but I'm going to have to use my Real Life Pass on this one. Of course, I don't even know that I'll get to it, with such great restaurants proposed by my competition! But I'm leaving for Canada late tomorrow night and won't be home for another week. Good luck to everyone!

August 3, 2015, 12:32 AM

DPCC, I'm sorry you'll have to miss this challenge. If you get time and wish to share an idea at a later date, feel free to submit an unofficial proposal. You will receive a score of 0 for Challenge 4 but will not be eliminated and will be able to continue the game. I hope you have a good trip and am looking forward to your entry in Challenge 5.

August 3, 2015, 8:31 AM

Terrorizing Six Flags Magic Mountain in 2016...

 photo 31_zpstpi5fh1l.jpg

Edited: August 3, 2015, 11:17 AM

Can I get a call on Goliath @ Six Flags Great America. I couldn't find the cost posted anywhere, but with Outlaw Run coming in at $10 million, Goliath is taller and longer, but not so much more that it could account for an extra $5 million. The specs also go slightly over what is in the guidelines...

I was thinking that for RMC you couldn't go any bigger/taller/faster/longer/more elements than Goliath...

Also....I found an inflation calculator: it okay if I use this? I have found that The Voyage (Gravity Group) would come in at just over $10 million using this government inflation calculator (8.5 million in 2006).... and The Voyage blows the pants off of the above advised specs....and El Toro (Intamin) comes in @ 14.2 million....

Edited: August 3, 2015, 11:27 AM

Disregard - Got my goliaths mixed up.

August 3, 2015, 1:54 PM

Jeff, a RMC with statistics similar to Goliath would be fine. I heard from a very reliable source that Six Flags significantly altered the earlier designs in order to conform to a strict budget. Something bigger than Goliath would likely exceed the budget.

You're welcome to use any inflation calculator you can find. With regards to Voyage, that ride is relatively cheap for its length because it doesn't get more than 25 feet off the ground after the first three hills. If your coaster is not very high, it can be longer without breaking the bank (and vice versa). If you want to put a mile-long traditional woodie at a Six Flags park, keep it on the ground after the first drop. If you want a giga, make it super short. We're not going to be overly strict, but if you exceed the height, length, or inversion parameters the other two should shrink.

I am also going to say no El Toros. While $12 million is an often quoted figure I heard directly from the park last year that the ride was actually in excess of $20 million. Six Flags actually tried to cancel the coaster but Intamin had already begun manufacturing the ride. The cost is one of the biggest reasons Six Flags never bought another.

August 3, 2015, 8:42 PM

 photo 31_zpstpi5fh1l.jpg

Coming to Six Flags Magic Mountain, summer 2016

Do you dare endure the dread curse of an ancient Japanese demon, and brave the world’s steepest roller coaster?

The time is 1330, the Muromachi Period, and the countryside is wracked with civil war. Friends have become foes, and family members slaughter one another en masse. Into this scene of wanton chaos drifts a sour evil, pulled by its lust for blood. The fearsome monster Onibaba has made her home in the forsaken hills, where she descends upon unwary travelers and feasts on their flesh. Yes, Onibaba, the Demon-Hag, the Mountain Witch, the Goblin of Adachigahara! She conceals her true demonic self in the form of a young woman. But know this! Once under the witch’s spell, escape is impossible.

 photo 32_zpsmpcvxb2n.jpg
Does not necessarily reflect ride’s actual layout

For their latest high-octane roller coaster, located in the heights of Samurai Summit, Six Flags Magic Mountain turns to Japan. Here they find not just thematic inspiration, but ride inspiration as well. Fuji-Q Highland’s Takabisha holds the record – for now – as the world’s steepest roller coaster, boasting a beyond-vertical drop of 121 degrees! Magic Mountain, home to the world’s largest collection of roller coasters, looks to beat this record.

Onibaba is a Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter roller coaster, which tops their previous accomplishments with a jaw-dropping 123 degree extreme plunge! Riders experience the wrath of an enraged demon, hurtling across the mountainsides of Japan. Euro-Fighter coasters are unique, able to occupy a reasonably small footprint and incorporate dark ride elements without sacrificing thrills. Magic Mountain relishes the opportunity to mesh theme and thrills like they never have before.

Visitors ascending Samurai Summit’s steep western slope discover Onibaba’s horrific steel structure directly overhead, supported by various pylons. (Mesh nets, like on an olive farm, catch anything riders drop.) Anticipation and fear build for the ride to come.

Here Onibaba is nestled between Ninja to the south, and Gold Rusher and Full Throttle to the north. Like Gold Rusher and Full Throttle, portions of Onibaba pass through tunnels underneath the path to Superman. Onibaba’s queue rests beyond, on the eastern slope. The Laughing Dragon Pizza Co. (Juan Hamilton’s Tokyo Terrace) is recycled, redressed and expanded as the queue/show building, saving budget on new construction. (Restaurant duty is relocated to the area underneath Tatsu.) This entire attraction area is a fraction over one acre, well within the standard Euro-Fighter footprint.

 photo 37_zps1ftppzcb.jpg

Guests play the role of weary travelers seeking shelter in a dilapidated hut high in the hills. A carved monolith at the entrance to Onibaba provides the backstory and myth. It also points out the FLASH Pass entrance. The exterior queue wends travelers cautiously towards the godforsaken, wind-battered hut, through a Japanese garden that has grown withered and haunted with time and neglect. Plantings are barren. Evidence suggests this was once the site of a battle, now picked mostly clean save for feudal banners which still waft in the breeze.

Travelers enter the terrible hut, blind to the terror which awaits. A cursory glance suggests this is the humble hearth of a lonely mountain woman. A kettle boils over, heated bright red, with a solitary knife beside it. To the wise, these are the telltale signs of the Oni. So is the rack of empty samurai armor along the walls – these are grisly trophies of the Oni’s foul diet. Faint yet eerie Japanese music plays. As dread starts to set in, travelers realize that their only means of escape is along the loading dock, and even then this “escape” leads only deeper into the witch’s den.

Euro-Fighter cars proceed individually, rather than in trains, which permits them greater maneuverability. Each car sits eight, in two rows of four, with dispatch every 25 seconds. Onibaba’s ride cars resemble palanquins, ceremonial litters which once carried royalty. These palanquins glide on their own now, without servants, compelled by the hag’s vile spell.

 photo 33_zpsdhhok4kv.jpg

MANUFACTURER – Gerstlauer (Ride Entertainment Group)
MAX VERTICAL ANGLE - 123 degrees
HEIGHT - 142’
LENGTH - 2,100’
SPEED - 58 mph
INVERSIONS - 3 (plus the beyond-vertical drop)

Travelers sail forth, around a corner steeped in darkness. Still entombed within, the Oni’s hideous voice taunts them from all directions at once. “Who dares disturb the lair of the Onibaba? Now your very souls shall belong to me forever! HA HA HA HA HA!”

A previously unseen near-vertical drop propels the palanquin forward, which should be quite a shock for first-time guests. The train performs a heartline roll, spinning 360 degrees on an axis through the hut’s basement interior! This spin is accompanied by a hypnotic Oni face painted on the far wall, shrouded in dizzying spirals. Horror mounts, as a flash of light illuminates a chamber filled with skeletons, the remains of the Oni’s victims!

A brake run carries the palanquin underneath the walkway to the western slope. Riders slow to a stop alongside a cursed spool of thread, on which the unseen Oni sews their fate, cackling. A distant bell echoes. Chains jangle. Riders ascend a perfectly vertical chain lift hill, carried through the scorched interior of an abandoned pagoda. Further up beyond its reaches they go, straight up into the heavens, 142 feet in the sky!

 photo 36_zpsmo328tje.jpg

At the top, travelers have only a moment to admire the view before their drop. (Japanese folklore tells of demons pushing victims off of cliffs.) As though compelled by the Oni’s dark will, the palanquin plummets in a record-breaking beyond-vertical plunge, 123 degrees!

What follows is a thrilling, psychotic blur along black-painted tracks. The palanquin proceeds as though cursed, first on an overbanked turn. Nearing the precarious edge of the ride’s footprint, travelers hurl through an Immelmann loop. A half-loop and half-twist provide riders three seconds of weightlessness, and expel them back in the direction they came.

Nearing another edge, the palanquin redirects on a horseshoe turn – essentially a vertical U-turn. A brake run grants riders a brief respite before they are thrown into the mystic gates.

 photo 34_zps0dgyqt91.jpg

Through a series of helices, riders thread the red gates, inspired by the 1,000 Gates of Kyoto. Only an airtime hill compels the palanquin out of this maze, shooting straight under the lift hill.

The final inversion, a dive loop, redirects riders like a reverse Immelmann, back towards Samurai Summit! The solid rock wall ahead resembles an Oni mask; entry is through its fanged mouth. Inside, the car makes a surprise drop, dodging a belching iron furnace overhead. The palanquin at last slows into the unload station, as the curse wanes. The Oni’s cackling voice resounds one last time: “You may have survived, but the Onibaba shall have the last laugh! HA HA HA HA HA!”

Those who escape the ride may exit along a zig-zag bridge over running water, famed as a path which Oni may not follow.

The one existing Euro-Fighter in the Six Flags chain, Dare Devil Dive in Six Flags over Georgia, would today cost $10 million to build. This is noticeably cheaper by half than certain other Euro-Fighters, in large part because it features fewer inversions, a single lift hill, and no extra gimmicks such as magnetic launches. Onibaba is designed to similar specs. To accomplish Onibaba’s record-breaking drop, a little extra expense is expected. The theming budget is aided by reuse of preexisting features in Samurai Summit. Altogether, Six Flags anticipates Onibaba will cost roughly $14 million.

Onibaba, Magic Mountain’s 20th roller coaster, breaks a major world record on a budget, and with style. It continues a new standard for storytelling set by Six Flags’ Battle for Metropolis. Big excitement is packed into a small footprint, proving yet again that Magic Mountain truly is “The Thrill Capital of the World.”

 photo 35_zps3y79p2u6.jpg

August 4, 2015, 11:05 AM

Coming to Six Flags America

Edited: August 7, 2015, 10:41 PM

Six Flags America feels like the neglected step child of the Six Flags chain. Within 150 miles of Six Flags America are such heavy hitters as Kings Dominion, Hersheypark, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Dorney Park, Knoebels, and Six Flags Great Adventure. Yet with all of that tough competition nearby, Six Flags America doesn’t have anything to pull the patrons in. There is not a single original roller coaster in the whole park, Rajin’ Cajun & Mind Eraser have more copies in the field than just about any other coaster type, other than the Boomerang. There are 5 copies of Joker’s Jinx, including one done much better at nearby Kings Dominion in the form of Flight of Fear. Batwing has copies in Kings Island and Carowinds. Apocalypse and Wild One were relocated cast offs from parks that didn’t want them anymore. Superman – Ride of Steel is a mirror image of Ride of Steel at Darien Lake. And Roar is nearly identical to Roar at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. With so much competition nearby, it would almost be an imperative to be on the Six Flags Magic Mountain plan of a new roller coaster nearly every other year. But it seems like Six Flags America is more of a retirement home than a thrill park.

Until now...

Next year, Six Flags America is getting a record breaker.

I know what you are saying, I hear you loud and clear… “Nearly every ride that isn’t a clone of something else is a record breaker because they are all unique like snowflakes.” And I must concede that point to you. But how about if I told you that this wooden roller coaster was going to be in the top 5 for height at 180ft? Would you be impressed if it was going to be second longest wooden roller coaster in the world finishing up around 6,800 feet? Would you think about making a trip out to Maryland if I told you it would have the longest tunnel in the world? Would you arrive at the park an hour early if you knew that it had shattered the record for the most airtime of any roller coaster in the world? Would you run to the back of the park to be the first in line for a roller coaster that had several never before seen elements that are so secretive and so special, I can’t even mention them here?

Six Flags America is counting on the fact that the answer to all of those questions is: YES!

Located at the back of the park right between Superman – Ride of Steel and Batwing you will see a roller coaster with a metal framework underneath, making it very obvious that Gravity Group, the maker of the Voyage at Holiday World and Hades at Mt. Olympus, has been hard at work making this coaster. You will see it rising off in the opposite direction as Superman, and will be almost as tall as Superman’s 200 foot height.

As a result of it being so close to the Batwing roller coaster and since this ride is so much about agility, it only made sense that this ride is one of the first roller coasters to ever be themed to a female: Batman’s part love interest, part nemesis, Selina Kyle, or better known as Catwoman.

 photo logo_zps38dhnvsr.jpg

On the current path from Superman – Ride of Steel heading toward Batwing, there is now a new entrance. Standing near the entrance is a statue of Catwoman in all of her tight leather clad awesomeness. In a trick of perspective, she is placed in just the right position that it looks like Catwoman is teasing one of the Batman logos on the distant Batwing ride. This will become a free photo op as people can stand next to Catwoman and have their pictures taken. Directly across from the entrance of Catwoman is a meet and greet area that always has Bats, Supes, and Cats, but you will also see the occasional appearance of other Batman and Superman friends and villains. The Joker will make appearances here as well as Scarecrow, Harley Quinn, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and others. Since DC is soon to release a Suicide Squad movie, it will explain why the villains are allowed to walk free, so it shouldn’t be that big of a deal that they are more or less sharing the same meet and greet area. Although the heroes will be slightly separated from the villains, they will be close enough that they can riff off each other with stuff like "Join the dark side, we have cookies" kind of quips. The Batman character will be a bit irritated about the villains being there, will have a general dislike of Superman, and will be awkward around Catwoman; all true to character.

Walking down the queue, there will be flat screen TV’s playing videos of Catwoman’s greatest hits, including her origin story. The videos will primarily focus on Batman the Animated Series, but if the licensing costs are not too bad, showing Catwoman’s progression from the Batman TV series, all of the way through the different actresses playing her in the different movies, up to the currently running Gotham TV show. As you approach the ride station, a small amount of theming will show up, mainly looking like an alleyway between brick buildings. In a window, written in lipstick, it says, “Sorry Batman. Something shiny caught my eye.”

Entering the station, you will find one of three seven-car, 28 passenger Timberliner trains sitting in the station. The cars are shiny black with some minor ornamentation of Catwoman on them. The train will look like it is mostly made out of curves, just like the real Catwoman.

Exiting the station the coaster drops slightly before ramping up and engaging the chain at the bottom of the lift hill. The lift hill will drag the coaster to the top of the 180 foot hill. The coaster will then dive down to the ground at a 70 degree angle before pulling out of the dive and entering a tunnel. The moment the coaster car enters the tunnel, it will bank hard to the left, pulling a 90 degree turn before leveling out. The turn is used to cut out the outside light and gives us a bunch of darkness in the tunnel to play with. After the turn, the coaster will do the trick that we have all been waiting for, it will hit an incline, but right as the coaster starts to head upwards, the track will drop away, gaining a high speed, low elevation airtime moment. And that is only the start of the fun...

Most people of this generation have no idea what a zoetrope is, so if you do, please feel free to let your awesome brain wander for just a moment as I attempt to make relevant again an extremely old technology. The mechanics of a zoetrope is many images presented before your eyes so quickly that your brain fuses the images together (an example of this is a rim on a tire or a helicopter blade that spins so fast that it looks like it is actually slowly going backwards). As a quick guide to some history, zoetropes were the first moving pictures and the technology was then used and reused until see through film took the exact same idea of quickly moving images to give us movies. To slow the effect down a bit, since our eyes work extremely fast, you can very easily use a strobe light to regulate how fast your eye sees light and dark. In the first video, a strobe light is used to regulate how fast you should look at the image, much in the same way that this ride will use a zoetrope, and in the second video, the images are placed along a track, much like what the Catwoman roller coaster will do and the frame rate of the camera combines the images for us.

A combination of these two versions of a zoetrope is what will create a zoetrope of Catwoman using her whip to swing and flip around above the roller coaster cars, creating an extremely cool effect while being very cheap to create and maintain.

So back to the tunnel… The moment the coaster hits airtime, an image zoetrope with a series of strobe lights synced to the speed of the roller coaster will show Catwoman mid leap and flipping through the air as if falling is the most natural thing in the world. She will cast out her whip and swing, synced to the roller coaster bottoming out its airtime and hitting the rails again. The roller coaster will start to head upwards again, but like last time, the second the coaster has any vertical movement, the tracks are going to fall away and create another massive amount of airtime. This is synced to Catwoman going airborne as well.

Note about the tunnel, there will be cool air pumped down the tunnel to attempt to keep the temperature from broiling the riders alive while also making the coaster feel like it is going much faster than it really is. The low voltage LED strobe lights rate of cycling will be based on how fast the roller coaster is moving since a fully loaded down roller coaster is going to be moving much faster at the beginning of the circuit than a nearly empty one. Since sensing the roller coaster speed will be imperative, the strobes will also be motion activated so that they are not on all of the time. LED strobes are so cheap and reliable these days that the tunnel will be full of targeted LED strobes that while illuminating the zoetropes, they will also attempt to preserve the best part about an indoor ride, and that is doing a roller coaster in the dark with the unpredictability of the movement of the track.

The track will take a graceful turn to the right, again going to a 90 degree angle on the track, and another long airtime hill synced up to the zoetrope image of Catwoman again jumping between buildings. The coaster then plunges out of the darkness and into the light to scream up a tall hill that will be somewhere around 100 – 120 feet in the high. This is the second tallest hill in the entire ride (second to the lift hill) since most of the ride is hugging the ground. At the top of the hill, you will enter a new tunnel and make a slow 90 degree turn to the left and engage the block breaks. Through this tunnel there will be a series of directional zoetropes (the same concept as the paintings in the Haunted Mansion at Disney that change gradually as you move past them… again, very old technology). These new zoetropes will show Catwoman stealing a necklace out of a museum case. Right after the coaster takes another 90 degree turn to the left to point us back toward where we came from, there is a long flash showing us Batman lurking nearby and none too pleased about Catwoman’s thievery.

Then the roller coaster dives away and back out into the light of day shortly after starting the decent. Once again, we are diving to the ground in a steep angle and toward a tunnel. On the return trip, instead of long bits of airtime, these are going to be short bits of airtime usually with a twist in the middle and the zoetropes are going to be much shorter, only giving us a glimpse of what is really going on. The effect is that Catwoman is trying her best to get away from Batman.

Once back in the tunnel, there will be an airtime hill where we see Catwoman looking a bit worried and attempting to leave the area quickly. Right before the end of the airtime, the coaster twists to the left slightly and dives down. It quickly pops back up into airtime where we now see Batman soaring through the air above her. Twist right, down, back up, airtime. We see Catwoman notice Batman. The coaster takes a double helix at high speed in a wide circle, the lower ring and then the upper ring of which will be the third highest point on the roller coaster at only 40 – 50 feet high. We then descend a hill and a zoetrope that has Catwoman looking fairly smug that she was able to lose Batman. We pop back up into an airtime hill and see that Batman is again lurking menacingly nearby. The coaster then takes a 90 degree angle to the left followed by a quick change in direction to do a 180 back in the other direction. Followed by another 180 this time to the right and then 180 to the left. All of these turns are made during an airtime moment to reduce the amount of stress on the riders and the train (in the same manner the Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion does… although this one will not be that jerky). The ride will be pretty dark during this section with only static flashes occasionally to show static images of what Catwoman is doing (re: trying to get away).

The ride will turn itself to run back parallel to the outbound track and hit a boost/brake section, a series of tires that are spinning at a certain rate to either slow the train down to the correct speed or speed up the train to the correct speed… and this is really important because the next element is the wooden coaster return of the vertical loop. The coaster will dive slightly underground in order to make up enough speed to make it through the loop. There will be a zoetrope through the duration of the loop showing Catwoman doing a celebration mid-air backflip. Since the infrastructure of this roller coaster is a steel frame work, it will not require the steel loop that Son of Beast at Kings Island had… this one will be all wooden track, although the loop will be smaller than the gigantic one that Son of Beast had. The ride will then go through a series of airtime bunny hills in near complete darkness. The next image we see is of Batman, looming over the track. The coaster performs a corkscrew, presumably to avoid hitting Batman, and then it hits the brake run.

While in the brake holding area, waiting for the train in the loading station to depart, there is one final image. Stuck in the wall is one of Catwoman’s caltrops with the necklace Catwoman stole hanging from it. Written on the wall nearby are the words, “A lady needs to feel wanted.”

Exiting the ride you find yourself in a ride photo building with a picture that was taken midway through the vertical loop. In the shop is a wide variety of Catwoman merchandise and as you move further away from the ride exit, there are other more DC related merchandise to include Batman, Superman, Joker, Harley Quinn, and all of their friends and villains.

Catwoman – The Ride, when completed will have claim on the following:

World record holder
Most Airtime (beating out The Voyage at 24.3 seconds of airtime)
Longest tunnel (beating out Hades at 800 feet of tunnel)

Only operating wooden roller coaster with a vertical loop
2nd wooden tracked roller coaster to have a corkscrew
External moving pictures during the ride

Top 5 for wooden tracked coasters
Fastest (2nd) (69mph)
Tallest (4th) (180 feet)
Longest (2nd) (6800 feet)
Longest Drop (2nd) (169 feet)

The duration of the ride is going to be somewhere in the vicinity of The Voyage at Holiday World, so around 2:45 - 3 minutes.

The cost of this ride should be right in the ballpark of The Voyage although it is higher, it doesn't have the large hills at the beginning of the ride and hugs the terrain through most of the course. Figuring on inflation, it would cost just over $10 million to put up The Voyage today. We would then need to add to that the cost of enclosing nearly all of the ride that is not lift hill, first drop, ascent into the block breaks, and the drop from the block breaks. This is where a great deal of expense will come in. The static images and strobe lights to gain the zoetrope effect will be dirt cheap in comparison, and could be done for a couple hundred thousand. All totaled, this roller coaster, theming, and special elements, should be sitting right on the door of $15 million.

What it all boils down to is a spectacular ride that you will want to experience again and again.

Catwoman – The Ride, exclusively at Six Flags America.



Note: I realize that I am only allowed one video. But I felt that the second video was important enough to get my point across that I traded the second video for all 5 of my available pictures (logo not included). Since we have been pretty lax this TPA season about a mashup of 2 or more unrelated pictures actually only counting as one picture, I figured this would be okay. And my apologies for the second video being more or less a glorified advertisement.

Edited: August 8, 2015, 7:53 PM

Six Flags Over Georgia, Austell, GA

Six Flags Over Georgia will open its newest and most thrilling attraction ever in 2016, a record setting wooden roller coaster named The Renegade. The Renegade, built by Rocky Mountain Construction, will be set in the Lickskillet section of the park, an Old West themed area with room for expansion. As the backstory for the attraction goes, the Old West settlement of Lickskillet was a small town of well-mannered folks relatively quiet in their peace and prosperity. In a general sense, Lickskillet was a respite for tired prospectors and their families, most of whom believed were onto great claims of fortune with the potential for gold discoveries further to the west. The simple town was modest with a small mercantile, a restaurant and saloon, and a livery stable used for tending to the weary travelers and their livestock. Usually people that passed through Lickskillet never thought much of the town, that is until the likes of William Thompson. Mr. Thompson was a rich fellow with many interests. He liked to tinker with machines and travel on adventures looking for riches. He never before invented anything of any real importance and he never found his claims of gold during his adventures in the Old West, but soon he found fortune of a different sort in the town of Lickskillet.

Mr. Thompson was an inventor at heart and was inspired by a recent invention that was taking the country by storm, the locomotive. Based on the success of the locomotive, Mr. Thompson wanted to provide a new fan-dangled contraption that gave folks a jolt, a "thrill" if you will, that took advantage of their willingness to act on their moxie. "ADVENTURE AWAITS! Take a ride on Thompson's Train!" was the slogan. He dreamed of a high speed attraction chock full of many new and fantastic thrills the world has never seen before. It was a grand dream that Mr. Thompson decided to act on just outside the town of Lickskillet. For years he worked on "Thompson's Train" as he built it board by board. And as the years passed, Mr. Thompson became a legendary joke of the Old West. All folks believed his "thrilling train ride" would be his biggest folly yet and they would say, "Poor old renegade, he does not know the errors of his ways." But Mr. Thompson believed in his dream and he eventually finished his train. Surprisingly, it was a fabulous success. And in turn Mr. Thompson decided to rename his attraction, with a nod to the unappreciative folks of Lickskillet, from Thompson's Train to The Renegade.



World Record Setting 86° Drop - Steepest Drop for a Wooden Roller Coaster

World Record Setting 5 Inversions - Most Inversions for a Wooden Roller Coaster

First Cobra Roll and Immelmann Inversion Performed on a Wooden Roller Coaster

7 Moments of Airtime

Ride Statistics
Type - Wood
Manufacturer - Rocky Mountain Construction
Model - Topper Track – Custom
Lift/launch system - Chain lift hill
Height - 150 feet
Drop - 165 feet
Length - 3,400 feet
Top speed - 70 mph
Inversion - 5
Duration - 2:00
Max vertical angle - 86°
Height restriction - 48 inches
Trains - 2 trains with 6 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in 2
rows for a total of 24 riders per train.
Ride Experience
The Renegade can be divided into five sections of track: the main body (lift hill, main drop, underground tunnel, inverted zero-G stall, over-banked top hat), the cobra roll (positive-G drop, curved tunnel, cobra roll), the figure-8 (airtime hill, over-banked turn, positive-G drop, Immelmann loop, large airtime hill), airtime hill run (5 airtime hills), and the entrance bridge (S-turn, descending barrel roll, circular bank turn, brake track).

The queue and load platform will celebrate William Thompson's biggest and only success, The Renegade, and display many of his insignificant inventions and treasures from his past adventures. The train dispatches from the load platform, elevated 10 feet, and turns into the base of the 140-foot lift hill. The ascent up the chain lift is swift as with most Rocky Mountain roller coasters. At the peak of the 150-foot summit, a view of the various banks and inversions of the timbered structure is quickly afforded to guests. Once over the crest, the train quickly accelerates and descends a 165 foot drop at a record breaking 86° angle down into a 75 foot long underground tunnel at 70 mph.
Out of the tunnel, the train continues on a straight line into the first inversion of the coaster, a 150-foot long inverted zero-G stall. The train hangs inverted for a short period of time, though longer than what guests expect seems possible without them falling out. In actuality, the inverted stall is for about 3 seconds. The train is then turned right side up and heads into a long, narrow valley with a positive-G section of track that accelerates into a 90-foot tall 130° over-banked top hat.
From the turn, the train accelerates through a positive-G drop and runs parallel with the track back into the valley. The train then darts into an above ground tunnel and into a 90° banked turn. Out of the second tunnel, the train runs away from the main body of the coaster and steamrolls into a signature cobra roll with two inversions, the first ever on a wooden roller coaster. From the cobra roll, the train accelerates into a figure-8 section of track that features a negative-G airtime hill leading directly into a 115° overbanked turn, down through a valley of positive-G track and finished with an Immelmann loop, another first on a wooden roller coaster.
After the loop, the train accelerates through a positive-G drop and into a large negative-G airtime hill that runs over the underground tunnel. Now on the opposite side of the coaster, the train drops into a ground level 80° bank turn as it runs away from the load platform parallel to the main body of the coaster through two small airtime hills before it turns back into another 80° bank turn and through a series of three more airtime hills.
The train speeds through a quick S-turn towards the lift hill before it heads into the fifth inversion of the coaster, a descending barrel roll that drops down into a narrow valley beneath the entrance bridge of the coaster, packed full of excited pedestrians and nervous guests debating weather to continue to follow the path to the coaster's load platform. The train then heads into the final element of the coaster, a wide circular turn that eventually banks up to a maximum 90° angle then levels out as it finishes into the brake track.

The Renegade will become THE signature attraction at Six Flags Over Georgia that will offer exciting thrills and many new features that the world has never seen before on a wooden roller coaster. And the cost that Six Flags paid to have a world-class attraction at one of their parks that needed a jolt, a "thrill" if you will, that takes advantage of their guests willingness to act on their moxie? $15 million.

August 8, 2015, 10:22 PM

**Sorry for the late post, I had family in town and my visit was much longer then expected**
Are you ready for 5 inversions and a beyond vertical drop, on a wooden coaster? That’s what you’re going to get on Six Flags America’s newest addition, Bane: The Ride. This Rocky Mountain Construction Topper Track coaster will be one of the most intense wooden coasters ever, and will focus not only on inversions, but also on airtime.
Manufacturer: Rocky Mountain Construction
Length: 3,400 feet
Height: 148 feet
Drop: 158 feet
Inversions: 5
Speed: 68.58 mph
Max Vertical Angle: 96 degrees
Duration: 2:15
List of Rankings (The Following Rankings include Coasters that are Under Construction)
1st Steepest Drop on a Wooden Coaster
1st Most Inversions on a Wooden Coaster
10th Tallest Wooden Coaster
7th Tallest Drop on a Wooden Coaster
5th Fastest Wooden Coaster
1st Beyond Vertical Drop on a Wooden Coaster
1st Sidewinder on a Wooden Coaster
Many of the best Six Flags parks are located near large cities. For instance, the parks that many consider the three best Six Flags parks, Six Flags Great America, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Six Flags Great Adventure, are all located near the top three largest cities in the nation, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. However, even though Six Flags America is less than an hour drive from both Baltimore and Washington, DC, it is often considered one of the worst parks in the chain. Bane: The Ride is just what Six Flags America needs to make it a more significant Six Flags park. Bane: The Ride will be located in the “Gotham City” section of the park, north of Batwing and Superman: Ride of Steel.
The queue begins with simple switchbacks. However, midway through the queue, riders enter the sewer, which was Bane’s secret hideout in the film “Dark Knight Rises”. In the sewer, the walls appear old and moldy, and they give you an eerie feeling of what is about to come. During the sewer section of the queue, a Bane quote from “Dark Knight Rises” is played every couple minutes. The sewer section ends when the riders reach the station.
Like the other Rocky Mountain Constructions coasters, Bane: The Ride uses lap bars, seatbelts, and knee guards as restraints. Also, a small bag where personal items can be placed can be found on the ride (similar to those found on New Texas Giant or Big Thunder Mountain). The trains are silver color, with some sections colored red.
The wooden structure is a tan color, similar to that found on “Outlaw Run”. The track is an off-black.
Ride Experience
When the riders leave the station, the train immediately makes a 180 degree unbanked turn to the right, which leads into a pitch-black tunnel. Once inside the tunnel, the coaster wastes no time, sending riders into a heartline roll that rolls to the left. During the inversion, the slow speed of the train gives the riders hangtime. After the heartline roll, the train performs yet another 180 degree turn to the right. Soon after turning, the tunnel ends and the lift hill begins.
Post Lift
After climbing the 148 foot tall lift hill, the train goes down a small 5 foot drop and makes a banked turn to the right, turning the train 180 degrees. Then the coaster performs its signature element, the 158 foot, 96 degree drop. The drop leads into a 15 foot deep pitch black tunnel. Immediately after entering the tunnel, a 45 foot tall camelback hill takes riders out of the tunnel, and then riders are dropped 30 feet to ground level. Once the camelback has ended, the train roars through a 110 foot tall overbanked turn, which twists riders at 100 degrees. After descending the over banked turn, the train goes through a 80 foot tall camelback hill. Then, riders experience the second inversion of the ride, a 75 foot tall sidewinder. The sidewinder exits on the right, and then the train makes an 135 degree turn to the left. Then, riders are sent though another inversion, this time a corkscrew. After the corkscrew, the train goes up a 60 foot hill. However, instead of simply dropping, the train performs a quintuple down. After going through a 30 foot camelback, the train goes through a half, 20 foot over banked turn to the right. After doing the half over banked turn, the trains drop down, still banked, so that the train only turns 90 degrees. Then the train banks to the right and performs a non-turning over banked turn, meaning that the train rises and drops while banked to one side (look at the photo below)
After this, the coaster performs the fourth inversion of the right, a dive loop, which turns the train 90 degrees to the right, straight towards the station. The dive loop sends the riders through an underground tunnel, the 3rd tunnel of the ride. The ride quickly comes out of the tunnel and back to ground level, and then the train performs the ride’s final inversion, a zero-g-roll. After two more small camelbacks, the ride finally comes to a close.

Edited: August 9, 2015, 12:00 AM

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 8.52.56 PM

Face the summit. Alone.


They evoke a sense of nostalgia and thrill, combining bloodcurdling anxiety with incomparable excitement. Adrenaline rushes through your veins, heart racing, as coasters speed along a narrow track lifted hundreds of feet above the ground. Eyes are pressed closed and mouths are wide open as piercing screams fall upon the ears of your neighbor, himself frantically hyperventilating and gripping the seat in front of him. Despite the screeches, there’s something strangely reassuring to know that there’s someone next to you. Someone there to share in the thrilling experience. Someone to talk to once it’s over.

But what if the seat next to you is empty? What if there is no one to hear the scream? What if you take on that hundred foot drop - alone?

The answer to all of these questions- sheer terror. Regardless of the screams, it’s undeniable that there’s an inherent comfort in knowing that a friend is riding next to you and going through the same twists, turns, and drops. When this psychological safety net is removed, a completely new experience is created. One with no shortage of fear. This fear is the very thing that makes a rollercoaster so exciting. Dr. Seymour Epstein notes that “It makes you feel very alive to be so scared. When you react to something that demands your full attention so forcefully, all your senses engage.”

Although Summit is neither the world’s tallest or fastest, nor does it hold the world record for most inversions or barrel rolls, it ticks off a completely different box. Summit, the world’s first rollercoaster that pits riders against a plunge completely alone, introduces a new psychological thrill element to the coaster industry.

You’re a member of a mountaineering team, an intrepid group of adventurers and adrenaline junkies who are determined to conquer summits all over the world. This time, you and your team are taking on Mont Blanc, one of the world’s tallest and most treacherous mountains and the single highest peak in the Alps. Everything’s going well, but as you go higher, the winds grow stronger and avalanches increase in frequency. Some want to stop. You insist on pressing onwards. But when conditions get tough and your team is split up, can you still conquer the Summit?

Summit is located in the back of the Land area of Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. Far from any of the park’s other major rollercoasters, this will help distribute guests throughout the park.

A mockup of the Summit’s location in the park.

Ride System
Summit is a Hyper GT-X Coaster designed by Chance Rides. It uses a linear induction motor to quickly get cart’s going at two separate acceleration sections of the track. However, since they only have to propel a single cart at once, they are spaced further apart, greatly reducing costs from that of typical linear induction motor implementations.

Each guest sits in a ride vehicle of his/her own. During boarding, 10 ride vehicles are loaded at once, 5 long and 2 across. There are two separate, identical tracks to double the capacity.

A mockup of the single-person ride vehicles.

Corporate Strategy
Those who have had the opportunity to ride a rollercoaster by themselves unanimously agree: it is an experience unlike anything other. Summit capitalizes on this notion. With many riders willing to wait extra time for the front seat, Summit also provides that opportunity for everyone.

By using a simple backstory, Summit sets a scene that’s easy for riders to grasp onto with minimum theming. Keeping in line with Six Flag’s standard for coasters, a loose theme that focuses on the rollercoaster itself keeps costs low. Furthermore, a mountain theme serves a subtle tribute to alpine coasters, the one-person ride system that inspired Summit.

The estimated cost of Summit is $15 million. Although there are two tracks, they are identical, saving valuable costs for research and development. Considering that the highly-praised Lightning Run, a new, steel rollercoaster at Kentucky Kingdom, was constructed for the meager cost of $7 million and manages to have a 80º 100’ drop, top speeds of 55mph, and 2500’ of track, assessing the construction of Summit’s two tracks and the simplistic queue at $15 million is completely practical. The tracks have heightened thrill elements but a significantly shorter ride duration. At such a bargain, Summit is the perfect innovative addition to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.

The Queue
Guests pass under a large “Summit” sign. The queue switchbacks up to the loading platform, with a few displays of climbing gear. Hooks, boots, and tents all help set the scene at an extremely low cost.

Ride Experience
Ten guests at a time board into the single-person ride vehicles. Although each individual cart is separate, they line up two across and bumper-to-bumper during boarding, greatly increasing the process’ speed and efficiency.

Once seated, guests pull down shoulder restraints. Park workers secure the restraints, and the ride vehicles glide out of the station, preparing to face the Summit.

As soon as they leave the loading platform, the vehicles enter a room. It’s a long and completely enclosed building (save for the entrance and exit) that’s void of light. Wind turbines create a blistering environment, and the sound of a distant avalanche can be heard echoing between the mountains. For now, guests are together on this adventure, although they can’t see one another. However, one by one, their ride vehicles leave the room. The two tracks head in opposite directions, leaving the darkened room and beginning the ascent up the mountain. A new cart is dispatched approximately every 8 seconds.

This incline is powered by linear induction motors, quickly propelling ride vehicles to the top of the drop in a matter of seconds at a speed of 70mph. As they crest on the mountain’s peak, guests’ screams are only heard by themselves; there’s no one in front of, next to, or immediately behind them. This pinnacle is the dramatic “alone” moment of the ride.

Gravity then pulls the ride carts down a sharp 90º drop, as guests fall 120ft, seemingly straight to the ground. In the nick of time, the carts pull up, before making a horseshoe turn and turning around in a 180º direction.

The excitement continues. Now, the carts go through three camelbacks, creating airtime for the riders. Exiting this segment, the carts head up another incline, once again powered by linear induction motors. At the top of this 50 ft peak, the track has a flat, straight portion, and guests travel at speeds around 60mph. This time, there’s someone else in sight. The cart from the opposite, symmetrical track is heading straight at the guest. As both carts are traveling at 60mph, the effect of heading towards a moving object increases the visual perception of the speed.

Right as the two carts get dangerously near one another, the track has yet another 90º drop, and both carts narrowly miss each other.

After another sharp turn, riders go through two heartline rolls. Here, both tracks are parallel to one another, effectively reuniting the separated mountaineers.

The riders take a left turn, heading back to the boarding station as the carts slowly decelerate. Before their arrival, a few more camelbacks signal the end of a thrilling experience.

They have conquered the Summit.

A visual layout of the ride.

Ride Specifications
Top Speed: 70mph
Height: 125ft
Track Length: approximately 1500’
Capacity: 850 pph
Ride Duration: 1:00-1:30

The list of records that Summit breaks is innumerable, as its truly the first of its kind. Here are the few most prominent.

World’s first thrilling single person rollercoaster.
Fastest single person coaster.
Highest drop on a single person coaster.
Steepest drop for a single person coaster.

Summit is an innovative experience that is unparalleled anywhere in the world. It combines classic thrill elements with a unique, single person cart system. Summit will be an instant classic for Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.

Edited: August 9, 2015, 5:02 AM

TPA7 Challenge 4 Critiques

There is a phrase I often use to describe myself' "I'm so low-tech I'm almost Aztec", so as far as the technical aspects of the proposals in the this challenge I am going to let the two smart guys talk about them and I'm going to focus on the aesthetics and experience of the rides you're proposing. They can talk about aesthetics also, and probably will, but me? I'm not sure I know the difference between a barrel roll and the "Roll Out the Barrel" polka. I just know what impresses me in appearance, aesthetics, experience and quality of writing and presentation.

Now that I've totally trashed my credentials as a judge for this challenge, here goes:

Douglas Hindley Onibaba

First of all, your graphics. In-freakin'-credible. Doesn't even need an "!". The word says it all. I don't know if you are a student of Japanese folklore or just did a remarkable amount of research, but the storyline for this ride is interesting, wonderfully appropriate for a coaster that is meant to both thrill and scare the tofu out of its riders, and adds to the theme of the entire area of the park. The backstory is probably totally unknown to the vast majority of riders, and I was glad to see that you provided an explanatory "monolith" to inform them about the particulars, such as the spool of thread, etc. I just hope that they would take the time to read the story- they would not need to do so to enjoy this attraction but it would add immensely to their enjoyment and understanding of it. The queue area is a great introduction to the ride, giving riders plenty of foreshadowing about the evil of Onibaba (which, unfortunately, many people would undoubtedly bastardize in Ali Baba (the Arabian character from "1001 Nights" or Alibaba the Chinese version of Amazon). Regardless, don't change the name. It is perfect for this ride experience.

The ride experience would also be in-freakin'-credible (with an "!")! It would offer a remarkable and relentless race through the storyline and theme, visually stunning, adrenaline-surging, a ride experience that would demand riders to get back in line again and again. Your proposal described the ride perfectly, concisely, vividly...I'm running out of superlatives to use.

You are using your time in solitary confinement well! Every week your proposals get better and better, and they started out top-notch. In some ways I believe that you are one of the reasons that this TPA competition has been of such high quality- you set the standard for the other competitors to match or exceed, and you set that standard very high.

Jeff Elliott Catwoman-the Ride

I felt that this proposal was inspired in two ways. First, you chose a neglected character in the Six Flags bag of super villains, and a female one at that (very popular these days) and made her the subject of a world-class attraction in a park that desperately needs some lovin', and second, you found a way to make a nearly-forgotten optical trick suddenly seem to be high-tech, cutting edge and a major breakthrough in coaster technology. Your use of two videos, while "technically" is outside of the rules, was absolutely necessary in this situation, and if any of the other judges decide to be butt-heads about this I'll take them out back and....sorry. I certainly hope they agree with me that it was important to show how this technology works, both in small film settings and in a real-life, real fast setting that your coaster would require. The two videos demonstrated this perfectly, and made understanding the heart and soul of your proposal much easier.

The story line of your coaster is easy to follow, not that it really would need to be heavily flesh-out to be enjoyed. Visually this coaster would be something that should be ridden several times, to let the riders grasp exactly what they were seeing and how it was being done. Your record breakers, exclusives, etc. all seemed to me- the Aztec- to be realistic and well-integrated into the experience, rather than something that you had to put in because you had to put it in. Catwoman would be a phenomenal coaster, a major addition to the Six Flags arsenal of coasters and one that would probably inspire multiple clones across the Six Flags map.

I am on the fence if there should be someplace, either before or after the ride, to explain to riders what they were going to see or just saw, explaining how the zoetrope works. Part of me wants to use this as an opportunity to educate, but then, remembering that this is a Six Flags park, I doubt that many would really care. Perhaps you should just let them be amazed. This proposal was well-written, easy to follow (both technically and theme-wise) and you managed to describe the technical details in a way that kept my interest and made me appreciate the integration of "ancient" technology into a cutting-edge coaster. That is no small task, but you conquered it in this first-class, innovative proposal.

(but I was looking forward to the Dog Poo Coaster at Six Flags La Ronde)

Keith Schneider The Renegade

Renegade would be a remarkable coaster to experience. You incorporated so many steel coaster exclusives into a woodie that you might push the steel manufacturers to start looking for something new that a woodie can't steal! Your proposal was clear and concise, your use of graphics was beneficial to describing the experience, and the layout map of the coaster was of immense help to this non-tech judge. I could read your proposal, refer to the map, and know exactly what was happening and where.

The backstory for a themed coaster, even a Six Flags coaster, is vital to make it seem special, and not just an out-of-the-lumber-yard woodie like I see at Cedar Point (Gemini, Mean Streak, Blue Streak). A good woodie can be great fun without a backstory (except for Mean Streak, which hasn't been fun since its first year) but adding a backstory can give it a special something. Your backstory was well-conceived and well-written, but I hate to say it- was also predictable. A wooden coaster in a wild west area. It didn't detract at all from the experience, and perhaps it is only theme park geeks like us that would notice, but a theme for a coaster must somehow add to the experience or it becomes extraneous. People will see it as decoration without seeing it as a part of the experience. The backstory needs to somehow be incorporated not just in the loading dock but throughout the entire ride.

Would I ride Renegade? Yes! In a moment, front seat, hands up, over and over. You created a breathtaking coaster, bravely incorporated steel coaster tricks and set records to create a major thrill experience that Six Flags or any park of any size would treasure. The backstory is not bad at all, but you need to find a way to incorporate it from beginning to end.

Juan Hamilton Bane: The Ride

Bane: The Ride would be one of those coasters that would scare the bezeesus out of most riders, event the most experienced coaster rider. Throwing riders into a heartline roll before even arriving at the first lift hill would be unnerving and let them know that this is not your usual coaster experience. Your description of the ride experience was clear, concise, easy to follow, and the fact that I was almost getting nauseous just reading it told me that, as a roller coaster, this would be one special coaster.

But- and there always is a "but"- the storyline just wasn't there. The entrance queue might have been themed a bit for Bane, but just putting it in a sewer and playing a Bane quote every few minutes doesn't a theme make. There must be some sort of story, even a simple one. I felt a bit frustrated that there wasn't more offered in a theme. Second, your proposal just sort of stopped. A proposal for an attraction needs to be a sales pitch- it needs to make me want to build your coaster. I learned years ago in Speech class that a persuasive speech has five parts to it: 1) Attention. Get your audiences attention. Your opening picture and paragraph did that. It got my attention. 2) Need. You established that there was a need for a major thrill coaster in a park that needs a major shot of adrenaline. 3) Satisfaction. You listed the details of what Bane will provide, and how these record-breaking thrills will solve the problem that the park has now. 4) Visualization. You took us on the ride in detail, carefully talking us through the remarkable twists and turns of this really incredible ride. Action.....the idea here is to tie up everything, show the reader (who in this case is the person who you are trying to convince to build Bane) that they must do this because it is the best, smartest thing they could do. You need to excite them, to incite them into taking action, sign the contract and start breaking ground. It didn't happen. You finished the ride and the proposal like you were in a hurry to get off and get a slushie. It just stopped. You desperately needed a conclusion of some sort, something to tie everything together. You had a great concept for a coaster, but you needed to work on the package the proposal came in.

Andy Teoh Summit

I have always been a proponent of the phrase "painting with words"- strange for someone who usually buries his proposals with as many images as I am allowed. Regardless, I have always tried to focus first on the written proposal, then on how the images used (if any) add to that proposal. Andy, you have always impressed me with the quality of your written proposal, and this is no exception. You chose a park that needs something both to boost attendance and that fits into its location and height restrictions. Summit meets all of these requirements and brings a completely unique ride experience to the park. It is relatively rare to be able to ride a major coaster, front seat, alone, but for those of us who have it really is an experience unlike anything else, and to do so with nobody else on the coaster? Priceless, yet you have made it a possibility for everyone with Summit. You didn't necessarily think out of the box, but you thought in a box that nobody else looked in to. This was a brilliant choice, unique and innovative. You created your own "world record/ world's first" category. Your description of the ride experience was easy to follow, but the addition of the ride path graphic added to my ability to visualize the details of the ride. You addressed the issues of how single rider cars would limit riders/hour totals by making it a double coaster while keeping it a single rider experience.

Once again I have to raise a picky question. You said that, in the dark room that the cars first enter, "wind turbines create a blistering environment" you mean "blustery" environment? I know all about global warming, but I think the winds on Mont Blanc would be more cold than blistering hot :+) Your back story was adequate to establish the premise of climbing the mountain alone.

You are continuing what I feel is a run of solid, well-researched and exceptionally well-written proposals, and Summit would be a brilliant addition to both Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and probably other Six Flags parks, big or small.

August 9, 2015, 12:41 PM

I’m one of the smart guys? Boy, are we in trouble….

Now that the requisite comedy part is over, each entry this week could have won this round in any other edition of the game. Its those tiny things that separate, minor things that could be improved, or minor things that you include that show attention to detail that separate you all.

I probably don’t spend enough time on the positives, but all entries this week were amazing rides that would compliment any park.

Now just to confuse you all again, I'll be doing a completely different order to last time... or at least I think it is.

Andy Teoh - Summit

I love the forboding introduction. I’m already excied. I like how you’ve thought about guest distribution in your placement as well. This shows a lot of awareness of your park.

Your ride concept is unique. You’ve taken something that every rider wants, but perhaps isn’t willing to wait around for - front seat privileges. I’m not sure about the single rider thing - I have visited parks alone, but I also gotta think back to the seating position I and my Girlfriend had during avalanche, a bobslead coaster - one in front of the other. I think that concept could work equally well here, it might be an option to refresh the ride later.

I think this alone concept however is awesome, and makes a great psycho-coaster. That said, I can fully expect to hear some objection from someone saying that the group scream is part of the coaster experience.

I accept your rationale for the budget, it seems reasonable enough.

I think, when we asked for something that was going to be a worlds first on a budget we didn’t see this coming. You’ve created something new and amazing, your theme although simple, is perfect for the concept.

Someone build this ride please.


Juan Hamilton - Bane: The Ride

If you’re a pitching to an executive, you got to watch your words. Corporate types hate to hear about problems. They like to live in some lovey-dovey land where nothing is actually “Wrong”, but things can always be better… So don’t tell me a park is the “Worst” in the chain. You can say it has issues, it could use improvement. I’m not going to ding you for that, cos its a small thing that I had to learn the hard way, but I am looking for professional pitches.

Your queue area is really good at placing us in the mood for this ride. The rough look of wood I think goes well with the Bane character.

I think however you could have used more emphasis on that sigature element, do something, like maybe a sudden brake just before it to build up my fear and anticipation of it coming, then drop me down it.

Good job though


Keith Schneider - The Renegade

The name doesn’t seem to fit the story to me… You’ve described a misfit, rather than a renegade (Outlaw or rebel), I do like the name though… Maybe a tweak in the story is needed. I like the weird west idea though… maybe add a little more to actually make him a renegade

The ride seems intense and will certainly attract the “Crash test dummies” out there. I’m not sure about the budget… but the only are where you’re out of the guidelines is arguably on the top speed - RJ’s quick formula says it should be about 98 for that speed, but that can be easily explained away by not having one single large drop. Since you’re not outside his limits, there’s no need to justify like the others.

Its a good ride, and a worthy inclusion in any park.

Jeff Elliott - Catwoman

I am going to ding you for the two video thing (but only a small on). I appreciate that you needed it to those who hasn’t seen a Zoetrope (although in my experience they’re a staple in Science Centres),. if you had asked first, I’m sure I would have said that its fine to use two instead of your images, but if you are going to go outside the lines, I’d suggest getting an okay to clear it first.

I wasn’t a fan of the “People of this generation don’t know what a zoetrope is”, kinda seemed a bit condescending. I don’t like the term “neglected step child” in there. I’d suggest something a bit more professional… However your pitch of the ride with the questions was masterful.

Lets go back to the Zoetrope though. What a brilliant idea. Cheap, cheerful, and one of a kind. With that, I’m not sure the coaster needs a lot of the other leading elements. Length/longest tunnel definitely, but I think it could be still an amazing psycho-coaster without the loop/corkscrew, airtime, etc and act as a ride magnet. The other elements push it over the top.

Catwoman is a ride that needs to be built.

(BTW, what’s wrong with La Ronde? Its the only Six Flags I’ve visited, and the only complaint I really had was it seemed a bit small… Other than few rodents I saw running about…)


Douglas - Onibaba

I don’t know much about Japan. I do worry about isng a lot of terms that casual visitors may be unfamiliar with, but the area is a longstanding themed area. Good attention to detail n the zig zag path

I like your early near vertical surprise drop. Very thematic. I’d suggest something more is needed at the top, hold em there for a moment, than play a voice of the onibaba indicating they’re being pushed off the cliff.

Your budget seems well justified. However, I do have to wonder how long the record is going to be held. It only takes an extra 0.1 degree for your coaster to lose the crown… at that point, it just becomes a well themed Eurofighter rather than a unique experience.

August 9, 2015, 3:49 PM

Before getting to the critiques, there are a few things you should know:

1. While I am a theme park enthusiast, I am also a roller coaster enthusiast. I have been on over 350 roller coasters, mainly in the United States and Canada. Chances are, if you name a major US coaster that is not in Florida, Texas, or Middle America, I've probably been on it.

2. I am a Mechanical Engineer, and while I am not in the theme park field (yet) I have done a number of behind the scenes tours at parks and attended presentations by ride manufacturers. I've tried not to go too hardcore engineer on these submissions, but if there was something that I firmly believe would not work I have definitely addressed it.

3. While I'm not 100% sure all of these could truly be built for $15 million, I'm pretty sure all of you got within the ballpark. We have been discussing the budget component of this challenge for a month (trust me, my original idea probably would not have been fun) and ultimately went with the simpler general guidelines approach. Therefore, I did not penalize anyone with regards to the budget.

4. Regardless of what I may state below, all of you designed coasters that would be among the top tier of their respective parks. Some may have more issues than others, but they are all quality attractions. This is an extremely competitive season and the difference between making the cut and being eliminated can be as small as that between an A and an A-.

Okay, here are my critiques.

Douglas (Onibaba): For years, I've been saying that a Eurofighter would be an excellent fit for Six Flags Magic Mountain. While my idea was similar to Dare Devil Dive, you've definitely taken the coaster type to the next level. Your theme is an excellent fit for Samurai Summit and your choice of record is a great one. I love the way you've squeezed this coaster into the park without removing anything and the choice to make use of the terrain. Repurposing the Laughing Dragon Pizza Co. is also a great idea. The queue line is very good and one of the most detailed in a Six Flags park. It definitely sets the mood of the attraction nicely and establishes the story without relying on fancy effects.

As for the coaster itself, your statistics are all very appropriate for a Eurofighter. The opening of the ride, with a vertical drop and heartline roll in the dark, is sure to surprise any first-time riders and gets the adrenaline flowing immediately. The theming in this section is great and is appropriate for Six Flags. After the lift, however, this becomes a serious thrill ride. The first drop could be the best at the park, with the following sequence of elements having a nice flow and good pacing. The second half of your coaster is nearly as good as the first, with a nice variety of elements and a good ending. Overall, you've got an excellent roller coaster with great theming for Six Flags. I could definitely see something like this coming to the park in the future. While not as extreme as the park's other offerings, this is definitely a very thrilling coaster and offers a new ride experience for visitors.

Jeff (Catwoman: The Ride): I have to think that Six Flags America's proximity to Six Flags Great Adventure, along with its smaller size, is the reason why this park doesn't see much major investment. However, your ride would make this place just as good for thrill seekers as the competition. A Gravity Group terrain woodie is so different from anything Six Flags has been doing recently that it would be an instant draw. For the popularity of Catwoman, I would say that she is the most underused Batman character when it comes to Six Flags attractions, so theming your ride after her is a great choice. The queue is simple but very Six Flags and sets up the theme of the ride nicely. As I have never visited Six Flags America I'm not sure what type of crowds the park typically sees, but three trains is always smart for a long coaster. Minor issue, however: On Timberliner trains, each bench is its own car so a 28 person train should have 14 cars, not 7.

Once the coaster begins, the sheer height of the lift hill is enough to get the riders' heart rate up. The first drop on your coaster is outstanding and may even be better than the larger one on Superman. The following sequence in the tunnel, with 90 degree banked turns and quick pops of airtime, may make this the most aggressive wooden coaster ever built. Using zoetrope technology is brilliant as the effect is really simple yet stunning. I'm not crazy about having a block brake immediately after ascending out of this first tunnel, as on a 6,800 ft ride with three trains that just seems far too early for one (my guess is it's been less than 20 seconds since riders dropped off the lift here). The return run keeps up the intensity, but I'm a little it all in a tunnel, or are riders constantly moving in and out of daylight? If the latter, I could see some issues with guests eyes not properly adjusting to the darkness and diminishing the effects of the zoetropes. The return of the vertical loop to a wood coaster is another huge draw for marketing and is a great surprise to keep the ride from becoming too repetitive. More airtime hills and ending with a surprise corkscrew is a great way to wrap up the coaster, though one more correction: It's not the second woodie to have this element as several wood coasters in China feature corkscrews. Overall, this is an outstanding coaster and, if kept smooth, could be one of the best wood coasters ever built. It is a super aggressive white-knuckle thrill ride that would definitely put Six Flags America on the map for every thrill-seeker on the East Coast.

Keith (The Renegade): Six Flags Over Georgia is absolutely due for a new coaster, and The Renegade sounds like it would be the perfect answer to Fury 325 and Lightning Rod. More than any other RMC built yet, you've created a ride that truly questions the differences of wood vs. steel. Your record claims are all things RMC would likely be capable of and your statistics all sound about right for a $15 million RMC. The theme and queue for your attraction sound very basic, but at the same time this is a great fit for a Six Flags attraction.

Your coaster begins with a spectacular initial drop that tells riders right away that this is no ordinary wood coaster. Going out of the tunnel and then straight into a zero-g stall only confirms this. While I do like the use of an overbanked turn afterward, it may have been better to use a more traditional wood coaster turnaround to give extra airtime and keep the feel a little closer to a wood coaster. While it has never been attempted before, a cobra roll should be possible using RMC's topper track, and due to wood structure mostly enclosing the element it would be very unique. I like the choice to add the figure-8 instead of heading directly into another inversion, though the overbank really necessary for this coaster? The airtime hill run after the immelmann is another good way to break up the inversions, but at the same time going from several positive-g elements to several negative-g elements creates a disjointed ride experience. Sprinkling airtime hills throughout the ride instead of concentrating them all in one section feels a lot closer to the experience of a typical wood coaster. The finale of your ride is great and gives a nice visual for those entering the ride. Overall, you've got another excellent RMC creation, though I would prefer a ride that feels a little more like a wood coaster and less like a steel coaster with wood track. There is a subtle difference, but it is there. In any case, this is a spectacular ride that stacks up well against the other big coasters of the Deep South.

Juan (Bane: The Ride): As one of the lesser known Batman characters (I doubt many casual fans knew much about him before The Dark Knight Rises), Bane is a risky character to use for your ride. However, he fits the theme of the area where it is going. For a $15 million coaster, your statistics sound appropriate, and your unique elements are definitely unique. I'd be really interested to see a beyond vertical drop on a wood coaster given the structural requirements. The queue for your attraction is decent and is Six Flags level, but perhaps Bane's quotes should be reserved for the loading area only (as I presume that is Bane's Lair). You did not specify the size of your trains, but for this coaster that is very important. With a beyond vertical drop, a short train length is necessary to keep forces within safe limits. If you used a standard (6 cars, 24 passengers) RMC train on this ride, those in the back row would experience such extreme airtime on the initial drop that they could be injured. Bane may be about pain, but the riders and lawyers aren't.

Your coaster begins with a surprise inversion right at the start. This is a great way to begin the ride. However, since the station is supposed to be in the sewers you should keep the entire pre-lift in the dark instead of exiting, making a turn, and plunging back in. The first drop is likely to be extreme, and as noted above would probably be unsafe with a standard coaster train and the speed you'd be taking it at (unless a trim was used on the upper section). The first couple elements on the coaster are good with plenty of airtime, though I have to ask if the overbanked turn is truly better than a regular turn. The following inversions are a nice change of pace, though a quintuple down from 60 feet sounds a little ridiculous to me. That's going to be a lot of short abrupt airtime pops in a row and could be more uncomfortable than fun. I'm a little confused by the next section of the ride...what exactly is a half over banked turn. Is it a half turn that is overbanked or a turn that is half overbanked? The last section of your ride is a decent finish, but it does feel a bit more like a steel coaster finale than one you'd find on a wood coaster. Overall, you've got a good coaster, but to me it doesn't really feel like a wood coaster or a RMC. In addition, for a coaster called Bane: The Ride, there is surprisingly little to do with Bane on the actual ride. Even if it's really basic, there should be something there. It's not a bad coaster, it just feels like it's missing something.

Andy (Summit): Six Flags has a reputation for gimmicky rides and your coaster is definitely based off of a gimmick. Having ridden a coaster solo before, it is definitely a different experience but not one that would appeal to everyone. A Chance Hyper GT-X is a great choice for Six Flags Discovery Kingdom as height restrictions prevent them from installing a more traditional hyper. Placing your roller coaster in a different corner of the park is a good idea, but there's a reason they're all at the front...the animals. Having a big roller coaster right next to the Tigers, Lions, and Giraffes as you do probably isn't going to fly. Your queue is basic and is typical of a Six Flags park. The design of your station is truly unique and fits the storyline of your climbing party starting together before getting separated. I'm not sure how practical this would really be, but it is a great concept.

The beginning of your ride is a great way to set the theme, though an avalanche would probably be very welcoming in a blistering environment. Given the blocking requirements of a coaster, a dispatch interval of 8 seconds is very optimistic unless you have a block section after every hill. Realistically, 15-20 seconds is going to be a more likely interval. Starting with a launch is a good way to kick things off, but launching at 70 MPH over the top of a vertical drop is very likely to lead to lethal airtime. The succeeding elements are good and should produce reactions from most riders, something that would be interesting to watch by bystanders. Launching the two cars directly at each other is a very good trick, but again you can't go into a vertical drop at 60 MPH. The remainder of the coaster is fun, but it is also quite short. Overall, this is a really neat concept, but I feel that the execution is not all that great. Due to blocking requirements, you can only have two cars out on each track at a time, and although the ride is short I still have a hard time seeing a realistic capacity above 400 riders per hour. It is a very unique coaster that truly provides a one-of-a-kind experience, but I'm imagining a lot of underwhelmed riders after a 90+ minute wait.

August 9, 2015, 8:18 PM


As fewer and fewer people remain, the discrepancy between proposals becomes smaller. However, the difference in point values between places continues to increase. For this round, there was a 1.67 point difference between places.

As a reminder, DPCC chose to use his real life pass in this challenge. He has received a score of zero, but will not be eliminated. However, someone will be eliminated. Now, here are the results...

1st: Jeff Elliott - 26.7 points
2nd: Andy Teoh - 25 points
3rd: Douglas Hindley - 20 points
4th: Keith Schneider - 15 points
5th: Juan Hamilton - 13.3 points

I'm sorry, Juan, but you received the lowest score in this challenge and are hereby eliminated from Theme Park Apprentice 7. However, you will have a chance at redemption. If you think you can do better, I invite you to submit a proposal in the redemption challenge currently taking place.

For everyone else, here are the cumulative standings:

1st: Douglas Hindley - 90.3 points
2nd: Keith Schneider - 84.7 points
3rd: Jeff Elliott - 81.3 points
4th: Andy Teoh - 78.5 points
5th: Juan Hamilton - 60.9 points
6th: DPCC inc. - 39.1 points

With 4 challenges completed, we are now passed the halfway point. For those of you who have made it this far, congratulations. You have proven that you are a serious contender for the title of Theme Park Apprentice. However, this is where the difficulty increases. The remaining challenges are not single attractions, but instead require multiple components. In addition, redemption is no longer an option beyond this point, and if you are eliminated your shot at the title for this competition is over. Also, be mindful of your cumulative score, and if you are not in the top three you better pull out all the stops in the next couple challenges. A double elimination may be coming, and if it does you do not want to be at the bottom.

For any further discussion of this challenge, please use the Chatter thread as this thread will not be regularly monitored beyond this point.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Park tickets

Weekly newsletter

New attraction reviews

News archive